Town of Drayton Valley
The Town of Drayton Valley offers an inviting balance of vast work opportunities and a rural quality of life experience. Well known for its presence in the resources industry, particularly forestry, agriculture, as well as oil and gas, Drayton Valley has diversified its economic base in recent years in an effort to draw new residents and an expanded workforce to the community.
Situated southwest of Edmonton, the Town of Drayton Valley is home to a community lifestyle and many opportunities where residents can become successful, enjoy a range of recreational programming, and raise a young family. As the oil and gas sector remains the primary economic driver in Drayton Valley, the town has capitalized on its strength in the resources industry with the development of an integrated bio-industrial park that pushes forward the industry and the community.
“We looked to the upcoming opportunities to diversify the economy and the bio-industry is where we saw great opportunities,” Moe Hamdon, Mayor of the Town of Drayton Valley, told The Canadian Business Journal. “We wanted to go beyond a single plant and create what we call our Bio-Mile. Industry and investors are working together to benefit from our resources where, through different technologies and the conversion of biomass, the ultimate end goal is to create a zero-waste industry in Drayton Valley.”
In most municipalities, economic drivers motivated through economic development, and Drayton Valley recognizes the opportunity to build on its main industries by establishing a culture within its community that welcomes and encourages economic growth opportunities.
The Bio-Mile is located adjacent to the former Weyerhaeuser sawmill OSB plant, the 2008 closure of which resulted in 500 direct and indirect jobs losses in Drayton Valley, accounting for about 12 per cent of the municipal tax base. As part of the response to this, the Clear Energy and Technology Centre, as part of the Bio-Mile, will drive significant investment, millions in tax dollars, and new job creation in Drayton Valley. The community is beginning to reap the benefits of its vision of a new bio-industry. The community is also supportive of the emerging industries in that it provides educational and research and development opportunities to meet the needs and requirements of the bio-industry. The Bio-Mile is a sprawling hub of big business incubation.
“We have been very successful in creating that atmosphere where people not only want to come, but younger people want to stay as opposed to leaving for opportunities elsewhere,” Mayor Hamdon explained. “We have developed a core where we are now looking to introduce and expand. We have received a significant amount of interest in this community.
“We are changing the image of Drayton Valley. Being an oil town that saw a boom of growth in the 1950s and 1960s created a vision of Drayton Valley as an industrial town. I have spoken with businesses in Drayton Valley and their main concerns are getting people to move here who don’t understand the community and who don’t know where they are coming. After being in Drayton Valley, the message from visitors and new residents is that we are not our reputation. The feeling they had of Drayton Valley in the past has definitely changed.”
What’s next for Drayton Valley? Mayor Hamdon sees further growth on the horizon. Looking toward the future, Drayton Valley will continue to invest in quality of life amenities, from the performing arts, to recreational opportunities, to parks and green space in an effort to further build the community and continue attracting new residents.
“Growth is extremely important to me. I am a big believer that if you are not growing, you are dying, so I would like to see the community grow and become a strong, diversified, and growing economy that is attracting people to come to work, but also to provide that quality of life where they bring their families and are encouraged to call Drayton Valley home,” Mayor Hamdon concluded. “I believe we have an extremely bright future.”